Friday Food : Banoffee Pie

Welcome to the final installment of the 2012 “pie” theme. Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Good! Well, the last time we talked food I was telling you about the million and half bananas I brought home from the Thanksgiving race…right? Well, I am pleased to say I managed to use nearly all the bananas! I ate a lot and used others in various projects. One of those projects was a special treat for one of my coworkers who happily retired today.

Countless cookie and pudding recipes came up while I was searching for uses of bananas, but wouldn’t you know it, I was looking for something with a little more “wow” factor. Luckily I came across a random recipe for the idea of making your own caramel/dulce de leche. I KNEW I had to somehow use it and the bananas. Enter Banoffee Pie.

Banoffee Pie

What you will need:

  • 1 8-9 inch pie crust (I used Keebler graham cracker)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used Eagle brand 14 oz)
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (I used Land O Lakes 1 pint container)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract (I used McCormick brand)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • optional: ground cinnamon, cocoa powder, or coffee. (I used McCormick saigon cinnamon and cocoa powder)

Directions:

To create the dulce de leche :

  1. Remove label from the can.
  2. Place can in a dish (in case can will mark up the bottom of your slow cooker).
  3. Place dish with can into the slow cooker.
  4. Fill slow cooker with water and set to “low”.
  5. Allow to simmer appx 7 hours (the longer it goes the thicker your dulce de leche will become).
  6. Remove from water with tongs and allow to cool (30-60 minutes).

To create the whipped cream:

  1. Place mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Remove and pour whipping cream into the bowl.
  3. Add vanilla and whisk until soft peaks form.
  4. Mix in the powdered sugar to taste.

To assemble the pie:

  1. Pour dulce de leche into the pie crust.
  2. Place in refrigerator or freezer to help the dulce de leche set.
  3. Remove and cover with sliced fresh bananas.
  4. Add whipped cream to the top of everything.
  5. Sprinkle top with optional powder (cocoa, cinnamon, or coffee).

Comments & Photos:

My new friend the KitchenAid was a big help in this project. I put the whipping cream items in the freeze at the same time as the dulce de leche and crust. When I pulled it all out, I was able to place the bananas while KA mixed my whipped cream for me. Thanks pal.

I think I could have allowed my dulce de leche to cook a little longer for a thicker consistency (but I was out of time). No complaints from people though and in fact everyone I asked said they preferred it to be a little runny.

For the whipping cream I used very little powdered sugar. I wanted to off set the intense sweetness of the dulce de leche. Those who tried it said it was a wonderful balance.

Other methods to create dulce de leche? There is an oven process I didn’t try and a stove top process. I actually tried stove top first. I placed the can in a pot of water and allowed it to boil before reducing to a simmer. The pot was kept on simmer for 3 to 3.5 hours, where I kept checking the water level (if it goes below the surface of the can, the can WILL explode per internet warnings). When I did this method I must have had the simmer too low, because my can produced nothing except hot condensed milk.

The pie arrive at 800. By 815 the first slice was consumed. A little after 1000 one lonely slice remained for the gust of honor. The pie was gone by noon with cries of “OMG make another!”

Have you made banofee pie? Have you made your own dulce de leche? What’s your preferred method? What does your office do when someone retires? 

A Numbers Game

Most people in the fitness world know about their weight. They either know and love or know and hate the number or they’re passionate about why they don’t need or want to know the number. I’m not sure where I fall into the mix. You see I tend to know my number from here to there. In fact I refer to it as “decades”, as in when I weigh in the 130s I’m in a good decade, if I weigh in the 140s I’m not in the ‘right’ decade.  More than anything though, I don’t weigh myself anymore. I’m at an age where my height and other aspects of my body are not going to hugely fluctuate. My jeans are classics and stay in style. If they fit, I’m happy. Although according to most style guides I’m allowed to be short or curvy, but preferably not both?

As previously noted via Twitter, I started going to the gym again this week. I’ve struggled immensely with getting back on the horse. Monday I rode the horse via the recumbent bike (I hate it) while watching HIMYM and Big Bang Theory. Tonight I sucked it up and attended my intake session. Gym members are given the grand privilege of being assessed every 2-3 months for free. I am told various body composition information as well as given a guide to how I should be working out until my next check-in. Tonight I learned the numbers…and oh how the mighty have fallen since I completed the Lite Styles program last spring.

I present to you my current profile. The numbers of a 28-39 yo non-smoker with no regular exercise within the last month. Height of 60.25 inches.

Aerobic Capacity

Currently I am at 38.10 ml/kg/min this is 18% above average for my age. However, I should be able to achieve 55.48 based on my other information. How much exercise do they think I need to get there? 20-30 minutes 3-5 times per week.

Body Composition

  • Total weight: 151 (yes, I just posted it, whatever). Apparently my target weight is around 133.
    • Fat weight: 55.57
    • Lean weight: 95.4
    • % Body fat: 36.8

The report gives me certain goals, and I should strive to be at 49.57 for body fat by Feb and 37.10 by Aug. They’re giving me until Aug to make it to 133 in a healthy way.

Circumference

  • Upper Arm: Left, 11.0 Right, 12.0
  • Thigh: 22.5 both sides
  • Chest: 39.0
  • Waist: 32.0
  • Abdomen: 39.0
  • Hips: 43.0
  • Waist to Hip ratio: .74 (anything below .86 is good and keeps me out of heart issues range. I believe I read somewhere too .70 is the ideal ratio to be sexually appealing to most men. Guess that explains a lot).

Coronary Risk

Blood Pressure : 106/66

Resting HR: 68

Flexibility

Sit and reach: 15 = Fair (I think I was up to 17 after Lite Styles)

Balance

Standing on one foot w/ eyes closed. 40+ seconds on the right 50+ on the left = Excellent/Superior (who knew?)

Muscular Strength/Endurance

Hand grip: 25 = Average

One minute push-ups: 30 = Average (Yep, considerably fewer than 70)

One minute curl-ups: 48 = Advanced

There ya have it…I go back on Saturday to work on the machines and have a personalized plan created. They also have a fun program where I can log 2x a week on their internal computers and compete for prizes after the first of the year. Should be fun, I’ll certainly keep you all in the loop. I’m just looking forward to being assessed again in 2-3 months and being back to the version of myself I’m more familiar with and comfortable with too!

How about any of you out there? Do you belong to a gym? What perks have you found?

Race Report : Home Run for the Homeless

Somewhat early on Turkey Day I rose and readied myself to go frolicking with my sister. We have done a “Turkey Trot” together I think every year since I began running in 2007. We used to do the 5 miler in downtown Cleveland. One year my car was broken into during the race and my Mom and I had our wallets stolen. My sister and I went the next year anyway (no misfortune was gonna get us down!) Well, the route had been changed and the new route went past some very depressing areas. We opted to look closer to home.

That is how we found a race in downtown Akron. A 20 minute drive compared to 45 and much easier parking/shuttle. Insanely cheaper too! Home Run for the Homeless allows you to have a “family rate” even if only two people are doing it together. Our rate? $10 each. Yep, that is all! Of course this comes with low level frills, such as no shirt and our “take away” being a pair of very basic white cotton gloves (great for cleaning your nose or to use as throwaways before a marathon). Most of the proceeds go toward supporting local shelters and there’s an option to donate money or a shoe/clothing/toiletries drive at the race.

Becky and I arrived with enough time to casually walk to the start of the race and of course I knew a bunch of people so we chatted and chilled before the general announcements. We also took some pictures.

Above we’re just being happy, below we’re showing off our matching Endomondo pants. Which BTW we both LOVE these pants. They’re the 3/4 running tights and right now, they’re on sale for $22.95!

From the start of the race we were determined to make this a FUN run. I started calling different aspects of the run various famous landmarks and as we progressed across the 4 miles, the trend continued. Along the way we saw

  • Tumbleweeds
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The Indy Grand Prix Race Track
  • Egyptian Tombs
  • The Panama Canal

We also heard a bird singing a song “I’m so glad I’m not a turkey, turkey, turkey” OK, maybe  you had to be there?

Around mile 2 there was a slight intermission for an emergency shoe string adjustment.

After all was said and done we finished our event in around 57 minutes, then enjoyed various post race snacks. As mentioned in my FriFood post, I personally took home 6 apples, 14 bananas and a box of Emergen-C Orange flavor.

Now some actual details about the race? Things someone might want to know if they would run it next year?

The distance is 4 miles long. It’s not flat or fast, but IMHO very walk-able  Part of the race loops through Glendale cemetery which is a route similar to the 5K I am in love with from Halloween time. Parts of the course have challenging hills and within the cemetery there’s gravel and dirt paths. One of the benefits of this route is how little time is spent on the actual roads and the cemetery landscaping is magnificent so you get a great view. Obviously the cost is very reasonable, but if you’re in it for the shirt, you should find another event. Also, this is a very large race, meaning you better be fast if you want to place. Over the years, I have found most holiday races are never easy to place at if you’re typically a middle of the pack runner. Parking is easy, free and close.  Also it is in a parking garage. On the weekends/holidays it is unattended, but it’s still better than parking on the street. (Again my opinion). The garage is close enough to walk to the start, but free shuttles are provided both from the start and after the race is over. I believe there is also a 1 mile kids’ run before the 4 mile event.

Afterward enjoy coffee, bagels, fruit, water and various giveaways. You might even have a celebrity sighting like we did this year.

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL holiday. I love reading about everyone else’s races and what they did with their family or friends for the weekend!

Oh and of course I don’t wanna forget to post a pic from the virtual races I completed. Both the Thankful Healthy Blogger 5K and Thanksgiving Virtual 5K.